The Green Impact Zone® Neighborhood Vision
The Green Impact Zone neighborhood leadership is made up of the leaders of the 10 neighborhoods and community development organizations that are included in whole or in part in the zone. The leaders of these 10 organizations developed the following vision, outcomes, principles and strategies that guide this game plan.
To develop a sustainable community; one that is environmentally, economically and socially stronger tomorrow than it is today...using a comprehensive green strategy...coordinated programs with innovative delivery mechanisms...and intense resident engagement...to more rapidly push community change, build community capacity, and make the Green Impact Zone a place where people want to live, work and play.
The long term outcomes sought for the Green Impact Zone include:
- A high quality of life for everyone in the zone
- Quality housing for everyone living in the zone
- Safe, attractive and sustainable neighborhoods
The work to realize the vision of the Green Impact Zone has been guided by these principles:
- Work should be inclusive, consisting of resident participation and representation, community accountability and transparency.
- Work should be effective, achieving the outcomes listed above, being responsive to community desires, having noticeable impact on resident lives and the community, and building organizational and community capacity.
- Work should be efficient, leveraging resources, strategically using resources, fiscally accounting for resources, and using data to make informed decisions.
- Work should complement and enhance existing neighborhood goals and activities.
- Work should cross-pollinate ideas, programs and people to enhance the ability of people inside and out of the Green Impact Zone to learn from the programs and policies.
- Work should be evidence-based, using information and data to evaluate the effectiveness of activities and adjust program design.
- Work should be targeted so that each block sees significant improvement to lives, homes and community assets.
The Green Impact Zone developed and used a number of processes to help connect residents with available programs, work toward sustainable transformation, and ensure transparency and effectiveness.
Key processes include:
- Building Capacity — The Green Impact Zone worked to not only transform housing, lives and neighborhoods in the zone, but also to build the capacity of neighborhood organizations and institutions to continue this process long after the initial grant funds have ended. This included initiatives to develop each individual neighborhood organization’s capacity to inform, engage and mobilize its residents, such as establishing block captain programs in communities that do not have them. The zone provided leadership training to neighborhood residents and encouraged residents to remain engaged in the neighborhood over the long haul.
- Community Outreach — A key element of the Green Impact Zone initiative is the community outreach piece. The outreach program included zone staff, neighborhood leaders and staff, and volunteers from the community. The outreach team developed a door-to-door and call-blast system to provide information and help residents of the zone assess their needs, identify programs and resources, and access available resources.
- Stakeholder Engagement — The Green Impact Zone has had active involvement from a wide range of public, private and civic stakeholders and funders. Zone staff worked with these stakeholders to identify the needs of the zone and ways they can help to support and enhance the initiative. This involved not only identifying and acquiring public and private funding, but coordinating existing and new services available to residents and businesses within the zone.
- Evaluation and Accountability — In addition to working to transform an urban neighborhood in Kansas City, the Green Impact Zone has been viewed as a national model for effectively concentrating coordination, outreach and resources in a single community. This requires a high degree of data collection and evaluation, not only to assess whether change has occurred over time, but also to provide a "real-time" assessment of program and process initiatives so that they can be adjusted to be more effective. The Green Impact Zone has provided regular public reports on progress and funding to ensure transparency and accountability.
- Communication — Coordinated communication is important to make sure that despite the complexity of the initiative, everyone — residents, leaders, stakeholders, and staff — has the same understanding and expectations for the initiative.